UTILIZATION AND PERCEPTION OF COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES (CATS) AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN KUALA TERENGGANU
Complementary and alternative therapies (CATs) are tremendously popular as an adjunct treatment for treating various health conditions but limited literature is available on the extent of use and perception among adolescents. This study aimed to 1) assess the general utilization and perception toward CATs and 2) compare the perception between CATs users and non-CATs users among secondary school students in Kuala Terengganu. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 99 students of a secondary school in Terengganu, Malaysia using convenience sampling. Responses were analysed via descriptive analysis and non-parametric tests using SPSS (v21). Among the participants (age = 15.3 ± 0.6 years; female = 78.8%), 23.2% had previously used some types of CATs, with herbal or dietary supplements (56.5%) being the most common. Participants’ utilization towards CATs were mostly influenced by their family and friends (82.6%). The students gained information about CATs from the internet (67.7%), followed by physicians (62.6%) and family/friends (61.6%). Most students have favourable opinions regarding CATs usage with no significant association between CATs users and non-users (p > 0.05). Nonetheless, CATs users scored higher in their beliefs that CATs has fewer side effects in comparison to conventional medicine (p = 0.050). From the findings, this study has provided some early evidence on the positive perceptions harboured by adolescents in Terengganu regarding CATs. Further approaches should be taken to educate the students about the fundamentals of CATs use to ensure their safety and efficacy.
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